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Some days you just get lucky.

I was driving home from work.  I was tired of having to stop for at least 10 of the 16 lights I have to go through to get to my house.  Normally, it’s not so bad, but yesterday it seemed like I was hitting every one.  By the time I got to Callahan I was just passing Winn Dixie and saw the main light turn green.  I’m thinking, “Stay green, stay green, stay green…” as it turned to yellow…”stay yellow, stay yellow, stay yellow…” and it turned RED right over my head as I blew through it.  I screamed inwardly to myself, “You Stupid Idiot! You just ran a red light!” but didn’t feel too badly about it because I’d done a quick review of the intersection and I was really good to go.

I looked back in my rear view mirror, breathed a sigh of relief, reprimanded myself once more and relaxed.  Then I heard a siren.  Looked back again and darn it all to heck and back, it’s the police!  I wanted to die right there.  I considered trying to outrun him but…CRAP…I own an HHR…get real, Smith.  So I pulled into the church parking lot, and then parked in a shady spot because it’s 95 degrees on my car thermometer and I figured I’d be a while.  Worst part was, I also knew that many people in town would see the whole drama play out and talk about it amongst themselves later.  That’s the one bad thing about small towns where your husband grew up.  Just about everyone knows him and most of them recognize the wife’s car.  You can’t get away with squat.  Don’t even try.  It’s useless.  Believe me, I know.

While the officer was running my tag from his car (and probably waiting to see if I was going to jump out and go postal on him), I reached into my purse and pulled out all the necessary information I knew he’d want.  Squirted my mouth with breath spray…blobbed on some lipstick.  After a few seconds he sidled up to the side of my car and before he could say a word, I blurted, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I can’t believe I did that!”  Then I pretended to bang my repeatedly against the steering wheel with dismay.  I heard him exhale.  “Well, at least you know what you did!” he answered, and then he took my info and glanced at it.  Looked at me through his blue Ocean Wave sunglasses and asked, “You Tim’s wife?” and I chirped “Yes! Yes, I am!” and I craned my neck around to get a good look at his name tag and recognized his name.  You talk about relief!  I thought to myself, “Well, I’m sure I won’t get a ticket, but I’ll probably get a warning.”  The he asked me how Tim’s brother was doing and I felt sure I was in the clear.

 We talked about the family – we talked about the high water in the river (he used to be in Fish and Wildlife) and we laughed about a couple of more things while I babbled madly at him hoping he was in a good mood.  I even mentioned that I had been a driving instructor for AAA for six years through my work.  He looked at me like I was a nut but I kept on babbling.    And sweating.  My sunglasses were sliding down my face, I was so nervous and perspiring.  I’m praying he won’t make me get out of the car.  I had nothing to hide, but those flashing blue lights are scary.  I wanted to ask him to turn them off.  Let’s just look like we’re having a little chat in the church yard, okay?  The whole time I’m thinking of that time in the cemetery in Louisiana when the two cop cars pulled in and surrounded me.  I kept glancing around waiting to see if he had back-up.  At least this time I didn’t have a beer in the car, LOL.

 This is the same guy who stopped Tim and one of his friends once for driving under uncertain conditions many years ago; the same guy who stopped us last year in the Amelia River for not having running lights on the boat after dark; the same guy who when his father died, both my husband and his brother went to his dad’s viewing.  They actually knew his daddy better than him.  Sometimes it just pays off to have good friends.  You get to know their children well, too.  But honestly, how many times is he going to let us off the hook?

After we ran out of social amenities, I pulled down my sunglasses and peered at him over the top and gave him a look  like he was one of my grandkids about to get in trouble and just plain-out asked, “Are you going to give me a warning?” and he said, “No ma’am, not this time.  But no more running those red lights, okay?” and I cheerily said yes and promised I would never do it again, thank you, thank you, thank you!

When I got home, the first thing I did was pop a beer and jump in the pool and jump around with joy.  I was so relieved I hadn’t gotten a ticket.  I haven’t had a ticket in years!  (Knock wood).

 It was a good experience for me all the same.  Don’t take your driving for granted and don’t take your friends for granted.  Both of them could hurt you if you’re not nice.


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One Crazy Day

I’ve got a lot to say about this past week.  I don’t even know where to start.  It’s been half good, half bad, and mostly kooking crazy.

First, my husband retired effective today.  He’s out mowing the lawn and I’m in here waiting on one of the foresters to send me yet another authorization that requires all my thinking processes.  It’s nearing 3:00 in the afternoon and the hard drive in my brain is seriously crashing.

Second, one of the guys at work, whom I am so fond of, got promoted and he and his lovely wife are leaving for Ohio.   Dumping us.  Leaving.  Vaya con Dios, suckers.  I certainly don’t blame him.  It’s just that we’re going to miss him so much.

To honor him on his last day, our group took him to Longhorn’s for lunch.  That went pretty well, I think.  We didn’t get to stay long enough because we all had to get back to work.  So we said our goodbyes, and I know I’ll see him again, and I do wish him well.  I got in my car and shed my tears, wiped my eyes and headed to Sam’s.  I mean, while I’m on the northside, I might as well go pick up a few things on my roundabout way home, right?  I do have to pick up beer and refreshments to celebrate hubby’s retirement after all.

I get thru the door of Sam’s and about 50 feet ahead of me I see my in-laws.  Their back is to me but I recognized them both immediately.  They are intently studying the Ever Ready Battery selection.  I know I should say hello, I love them dearly, but I’m on a mission and I have to get my tail home so I can get back online and get back to work!  I hung a quick left and shot off toward the back of the store.  My pa- in-law can talk the handle off a pump and drain the well dry while he’s at it.  I’m in a hurry.

I immediately recognize a big dilemma though. I’m buying beer!  What if I run into them?  I mean, I know they know we drink beer, but jeez…I hate getting caught buying it.  I must watch for them.  Were they going in or out?  I grab a few items, throw them in my cart and head to the front of the store.  OMG! They are about two feet from the battery section!  How long does it take to make a decision about batteries?  But the cart is empty so I know they’re coming in.  Good.  I hurdle my cart back to the beer department and sling a case into it and dart back to the front.  They are slowly making their way towards…which dang aisle?  I can’t tell.  So I pick up my phone and start talking to it.  While I’m conversing with my phone I discreetly view, well, hell, there wasn’t nothing discreet about it; I’m going along the shelves trying to find them thru the reams of copy paper, calculator rolls, etc.,  I know I look foolish but I really don’t care.  I get to the end of the aisle and look around the corner, and…they’re gone.  Huh?  Where did they go?  I dash to the register.  Throw my stuff up on it all the while looking around for them.  Here it is, my beer, out in the open, big as life on the roller thingy now…please let them be headed towards the back of the store. I’m mentally saying, “Hurry! Hurry!” to the cashier as she slowly rings up the stuff of the lady in front me.  The cashier stops.  One of the shirts has no price tag.  It takes another 3-4 minutes to get that crap straightened out.  Did I mention I had to pee the instant I hit the store? 

I get thru the line and am headed towards the exit and I look to my right and I’ll just be darned if I don’t see the guy who’s leaving for Ohio strolling towards me looking to the left down an aisle – probably looking for his wife!  Did he see me? I don’t know.  I literally RAN towards the exit.  The guy checking the receipts says, “Looks like you’re in a hurry!” and I bleated, “Yes!” and he marked my receipt and hollered, “Be careful now!” as I tore out the door headed to the liquor department.  It wasn’t like I didn’t want to see my friend; it was just that I HAD TO GET OUT OF THE STORE.

The liquor department door is blocked by an incredibly full cart of groceries with two equally incredibly big women standing inside the door examining a bottle of Jim Beam.  I literally pushed their cart over and bullied my way through and went inside.  I heard them mutter something about “that white honky” behind me but I didn’t care. I bought what I needed and headed out.  People were leaping like sheep out of my way; I must have looked that determined.

I could not find my car.  I’m standing in the parking lot jamming the emergency button on my key fob hoping for one tiny beep of a horn and I cannot find my car.  I pushed that dang cart back and forth four times before I found it.  By the time I got into inside and started it, I was laughing hysterically thinking what I must have looked like the past several minutes!

I jump on 295 and tear down the highway towards home.  I pass Dunn Avenue thinking it’d be quicker to take the back way down Old Kings and immediately have to slam on brakes because there is a huge traffic jam.  I’m stuck there for about ten minutes.  I get a phone call from the chip mill fellow about changing a rate.  I tell him my situation and say I’ll call him back.

I finally get home, get online to work, and there is nothing out there for me to do.  I’m so relieved I feel light-headed.

The whole point of this long story is to say this though…because I know you’re reading it because I sent you my blog address.  What I couldn’t say at the table, what I couldn’t say to your face. I mean, I could, but I was just too far down the table and there was just too much commotion this past week.

Thank you, Tim.  Thank you for how sweet and kind and patient you’ve always been to me even when I’m mean and snarly and over-worked and crazy.  Thank you for being the one man in the office that is a REAL man.  You have always fixed the broken things and cleaned up the dirty stuff.  (I’m thinking the bathroom downstairs in Callahan, LOL).  Thank you for showing me how having faith in the Lord can change your life.  You’ve led me to see how the Lord truly works if you pray and have trust in what He does for you.  Thank you for the humor you’ve always had in the office and how you’ve always made the best out of a difficult situation.  You have a wonderful, beautiful, generous soul and I admire you and your wife and your family so, so much.  I feel like a better person just knowing you all.

I really do wish you the best in Ohio.  I know you’ll do great and I know the people there will love you too.  We will miss you.  I WILL MISS YOU.

Best of luck.  God Bless you and your family.  Big hugs and love.


P.S. Since I have given you access to my blog…I will remind you again that I do get a little carried away sometimes.  Take it all with a grain of salt.  My mouth overruns my brain much of the time.

See ya soon.

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You can take me out of the country, but…

The other day I tried amusing myself by being someone I’m not and never will be.  That is a RICH PERSON.  I work on Amelia Island AKA Fernandina Beach, Florida.  There are so many beautiful, quaint, expensive shops to browse through on my lunch time.  So the other day, I drove to the north end of the island down near the Plantation, where all the fancy shops are just to walk around and mingle with the classy folks.  I don’t know what possessed me.

The very first store I walked into was a furniture store inside of a beautifully madeover cottage.  I knew the second I walked in that I was out of my league.  So I pretended to be one of the la-di-da ladies, dahling…told the women sitting behind the beautiful oak desk that I was looking for a lamp for my newly remodeled bedroom.  She took me in over the tops of her eyeglasses and I don’t think she fell for it one bit.  But I browsed anyway.  Holy cow.  I would never pay $250.00 for a stupid lamp.  I looked at them and oohed and awed properly, but no, it’s not quite the one I’m looking for.  Thankfully she doesn’t hang over me, she lets me alone.  I walk towards the back and this is where you pick out the fabric to go on the $2000.00 sofa or couch or loveseat that you pick from the front of the house.  Dear God.  Fabric costs a lot just to cover a piece of furniture.  I sauntered out after a bit and went to this fancy clothing store next door.  Their SALE items didn’t even make it below the $100’s.  I pretended to like a few pieces, even tried on a dress that was really pretty but cut too low for work, so I passed on it.  Talked to Willie the cockatiel in his cage.  I liked him, he kept whistling and he said all kinds of words. 

I then passed over to the Home and Bed Shop.  And here is where I completely messed up.  I found the bed quilt, the shams, the bed skirt and the decorative pillows that I’ve been trying to find for years.  There it was, all made up on a king sized bed.  I walked around and around that bed.  I knew it was way out of my price range.  It was just perfect.  The quilt is  a light sort of Seafoam green and it was just the right texture…not real thick, not real thin.  Very nicely made, you could tell it could be washed many times before wearing out.  Good stuff.  I’ve longed for a new bedroom ensemble for years but just never saw anything that caught my eye.  The other night, the dog was playing like she was digging a hole on top of the spread we have on the bed now and I scolded her.  Tim said, “This old thing?  She can’t hurt it!”  I knew then it was time for something new.  When the hubby notices, it’s time.

The lady who ran the place kindly questioned if I was interested in the price of the whole bed set.  So I said, “Of course, dahling, please do work up a price on the whole thing.”  Meanwhile, I’m melting in the smells of beautiful soaps on the counter and find myself piling several bars up there that I’ll get even if I don’t get the dang rest of it.

Believe it or not, the price was right.  I’d been pricing stuff for years that sort of piqued my interest, but never enough to spend the money.  But this truly was in my price range!  I couldn’t believe it!  Of course, I acted like, “Oh yes, that is definitely a good price, my dearey,” and she started my order.  I could have taken the stuff off the bed, she was all set to package it up for me, but no, I want it brand damn new.  It’ll probably be the last one I buy, haha.  I bought the soap and one of the decorative pillows on the spot.  Another decorative pillow will follow with the order.  All by itself it looks fancy on the bed.

So I sashayed out holding my new bag of goodies and danged it I didn’t near break my neck on a parking stump thingie that you pull up to when you park your car.  Don’t know the correct name, but it’s long and about five inches high and PAINTED BRIGHT BLACK AND YELLOW so you don’t miss it.  I stumbled on that thing and if anyone saw me, they probably thought the woman had thrown me out of the door.  Not to mention that in my fright I bleated, SHIT, WHAT IN HELL WAS THAT?!”  loud enough for my Callahan friends to hear. I turned around and gawped at it as if it had just popped up as I came out the door. So much for trying to make a poised, dainty exit, I blew that all to hell and back.  Aw heck, who am I fooling I thought to myself as I climbed into my dirty HHR that was sitting amongst BMW’s and Mercedes.  My car was probably as uncomfortable as me in those surroundings.  Give me the dirt roads and woods any day.

So maybe I’m not one of those fancy, rich people, I don’t really care.  I have a new look coming to my bedroom for the first time in years and I’m excited about it.  You can take the girl out of the country, but you just can’t take the country out of the girl.

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Connie Joan Christian Smith

My sister in law was over the other day.   I had the day off and spur of the moment, she called me and said “Let’s get together and have lunch, you have any peanut butter?”

Course I do.  She came over and made my entire vacation day.

She asked me why I hadn’t written anything in my blog lately.  I have no good excuse except I’m too busy at work now to do so.  LOL

So Connie, since you asked, I found something to blog about!

Connie is the wife of my brother Brian, who died in 1996.   She is the sister I never had.  I’m not positive, I’d have to check my diaries, but I believe she came into our lives around the time I was 12..13… somewhere in there. We lived in Miami at the time my brother met her in high school. I fell in love with her the first time I met her.  I think she realized that I needed a sister to show me and tell me things I didn’t know and couldn’t talk about with my mom.  You know how mom’s and daughters are about some things.   I wasn’t close to my mom until I got older and left home.   Connie coming into our lives was like having a bright shining star enter the room every time she’d step through the door.  She would put on make-up and let me watch and show me different ways to wear eye shadow, she showed me how to put on a bra the right way; not that I had any boobs, but I wanted to know if ever I did.. (Which I never did, haha, bras were useless on me).   I remember one night I heard her come into the house and I was in bed and she told my mom she had some old bras to give me that she thought I could wear, and I couldn’t wait to see what she’d given me.  I was grinning in my bed like I was someone!

We ended up moving back to Jacksonville and Brian came with us.  My oldest brother Leslie was in Korea. It seemed like every weekend Brian was headed back to Miami to see Connie.  He’d be singing, “Going back to Miami…going back to my girl!”  She eventually ended up in Jacksonville, they got married, and had two beatiful children.  But before then, she’d come spend the night with me, so she could be near Brian, but she always paid attention to me.  We made up our own song…”OHHH the gopher guts are sweeter and the beetle brains too… they’re shot with sugar, through and through!”  It was a cereal song tune that we put our own words to.  We’d sing it and laugh like hell.  She introduced me to beer and raw eggs to make your hair shine.  We would dance to music and I’d try and follow her moves because she had so much rhythm.  She’d dance with her eyes closed, engrossed in the music. 

Connie and I always stayed close to this very day, even though my brother has been gone for almost 15 years.  So hard to believe.  I used to love to stop by their place after work before I went home just so I could see them.  She’d always pull out some snacks to munch on and the three of us would sit at the table in the kitchen and talk, even it was just for 30 minutes.  I can’t open a Triscuit box without thinking of those days, I mean it.   If I was ever upset about anything I could always run to Brian and Connie’s and they’d listen to me and let me cry.  Brian worked on my cars over the years until I met Tim, who can fix anything. I know Bri must have been relieved!   But I knew Brian would always help me out of a jam.  They both were there for my mom when she needed help.  They were the best couple I knew to this day.

I wish we could see each other more often, but we do talk on the phone as often as we can and I know I can always count on her to listen to me when I need a friend.

Connie….thanks for all the years…I love you immensely!  See you soon!  Doe

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Out of Body Experience

You hear about people having OBE’s.  This morning I had three.  Honest.  It was the most amazing thing that has happened to me in a long time.  The first one happened when I was almost asleep, I could still hear the TV, and I knew I was in bed, but I felt myself lifted, it was a tingly feeling and the next thing I knew I was floating a few feet off the ground in the backyard.  I was floating around and touching plants and laughing and doing spins in the air. 

It didn’t last but a few seconds and I felt myself waking up.  I thought I was dreaming, which yes, I agree I was, so I willed myself back into the dream and in a few minutes, just as I was dozing off again, here came that tingly feeling, that feeling you get when “someone walks over your grave” and I was in the back yard again and I was saying to myself, “I did it, I did it!” and I floated around some more.  Both times things seemed a little blurry, it’s hard to explain, but at the same time, the colors of everything were magnified.  It’s like a TV screen that keeps going in and out.  The more I floated the more clear things became.  I could look back at the house and see the bedroom door and then turn around and see the whole backyard too.

The third time I woke up, (I never truly WOKE up), it was like I was back in the bedroom and I wanted to turn the stupid TV off so I could concentrate and go again, but I felt paralyzed to move, but I finally got away again and this time ended up in the backyard of the trailer we used to live in next door.  There were people sitting around in the yard when I floated in and they were looking at me like I was an alien.  When I reached the ground, my legs wouldn’t hold me up and I was trying to explain to them that I was sleepwalking.  My words were coming out really groggy.  They stood up to walk over to me and none of them were smiling and this scared me enough that this time, I did wake up.  All the way.  And try as I might, I could not go back to sleep again even though I wanted to, because I wanted to try it again.

Sure, go ahead and say I’m crazy, I don’t care.  It was fun as heck and I hope to be able to do that again.  Soon.  Tonight.  I want to float to somewhere I’ve never been before.  And No, I’m not on drugs.  LOL

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Cursive Writing

Last week I found in the attic an old accordion file of bills and such that dated back to 1993 and 1994. Don’t know how it got in the attic but there it was and I took it to work today to shred. As I was going thru the “Miscellaneous” part, I found a Post It note my mom had written on a magazine. She was in the process of moving from Maine to Florida and she gave me her new phone number in Florida and added a little word or two along with  it and signed it, “Love, Mom.”   I read it several times, that little note. It was in cursive and Mom had a pretty handwriting even when she was hurriedly writing a note. I tacked it to my picture board just so I could look at it from time to time while I’m working.
Then I came across some letters my friend Cathy had written me. Cat would always write long, lovely letters – front and back, and would fill me in on everything happening in Mattawamkeag and Lincoln. All handwritten. All in cursive. I remember how excited I would get to open the mailbox and find a letter from her. I knew it would be a good long one full of news! I have saved many, many letters from her over the years and have a hard time throwing any of them away, even though I know they only mean something to me. Someone else will have to throw them away eventually, but it isn’t going to be me. Not all of them anyway.
I’m sure we’ve all read or heard how the schools are talking about taking cursive handwriting out of the curriculum.  They’re going to teach them how to print.  When I was growing up, we didn’t call it “cursive,” we called it “real writing.”  “I’ve got to do a book report in REAL WRITING tonight!” Killer.  I do remember the alphabet being written in cursive on the wall up near the ceiling.  Big huge letters that little kids can see easily from their desk and practice until they get it just right.  Sure, the printed word looks good too.  But when you print, you have to keep picking the pencil or pen up from the paper to move to the next letter.  There is something magical in flowing letters together to form a word and seeing how legible you can make it.  When I started writing in my diaries, it was as much as holding the pen and writing the WORDS as it was to just put my thoughts down on the page.  To this day I love the smell of ink and paper.  Or a new book or new magazine.  I love to open it up and just bury my nose in it and breathe deeply. 

I’ll be the first one to admit that I love to type.  It’s fast, easy and to the point.  Boom, zoom, it’s out there.  You don’t have to dot the i’s and you don’t have to cross the t’s.  However, I also like to write.  I like the way a pen feels in my hand and there are some great pens out there.  Yes, emails are wonderful, I absolutely cannot imagine life without emails now.  Best invention since white bread. 

I saw this past Christmas where more and more of us are getting away from handwritten notes and cards.  For years, I had trouble finding room to display all the cards I’d received.  I know that postage is pricey and ridiculous and we’re all in a crunch to save money and mailing Christmas cards is expensive.  I didn’t send near as many as I usually do.  But you know what?  I missed those handwritten cards.  I truly did. 

My birthday.  Thanks to Facebook I had birthday wishes from people that have never wished me a Happy Birthday or hadn’t in years because I mean, who can remember all those birthday’s anyway?  Get real!  But hey, look, there it is on Facebook!  It’s Donna’s birthday.  Shoot her a message.  It was great!  I loved it!  But you know what really meant the most to me and I didn’t even realize it so much until this year?  It was the few special handwritten cards that I did receive.  The joy of slitting that envelope to see what someone had picked out to send to me and what they had written in it to wish me joy on that day.  The ones you read and then press to your heart because they were just so darn sweet.  Yes, I enjoyed my “social network” cards, don’t get me wrong, I did.  I also realized that I had done the very same thing to other friends on their birthday – Facebooked or emailed them instead of sending a card.  It works, it’s great and I’m truly not dissing it.   I just think it is wrong, wrong, wrong to not teach children how to write in cursive.  I’m a little old fashioned that way, sue me.

You know what else?  200 years from now, or maybe not even that long, – handwritten letters may turn out to be worth money.  Can you imagine?  I mean look at the stuff on Antiques Roadshow that turn out to be worth a pile of money!  Stuff we or our parents had at one time and tossed out because they were old or ugly or we weren’t using them anymore.  I still grieve that I didn’t keep my Barbie and Midge, Ken and Skipper.  Dang things would be worth something now and I took good care of them too!  Shoot!!

So I’m saving my letters and maybe someone behind me will save them just for the heck of it, and maybe, just maybe, many years from now some tekky group that can’t even imagine  cursive writing will come across them and they might be worth more than just great memories to me.  Won’t THAT be a hoot…

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Troubled Times

 Not looking good.  Not looking good at all…

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